Today would be the 81st birthday of Assia Djebar, who stands out as one of the Arab world's most prominent literary figures.

Djebar, who was born as Fatima Zohra Imalayene in 1936, was an Algerian novelist and filmmaker. She died at the age of 78 in 2015, leaving behind an impressive legacy, regarded as one of North Africa's most influential writers.

Here's a look at her life and achievements. 

She published her first book at the age of 21

The French language book titled La Soif (with an English version called The Mischief) told the story of a westernized French-Algerian girl that seduced a friend's husband to make her own lover jealous. 

Djebar went on to write more than 15 other books

Her works – including novels, poems and plays – have been translated into more than 23 languages. 

She was the first North African writer to be elected as an "immortal'' by the prestigious Academie Francaise

Djebar received the recognition on June 16, 2005. Upon receiving the award she said: "I am not a symbol." 

"Each of my books is a step towards the understanding of the North African identity and an attempt to enter modernity." 

She was also nominated for the 1996 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and often considered for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Much of her work focused on the lack of women's rights in the Arab world

She felt the role of women was often ignored by other Algerian writers. Even following the nation's independence, she felt little changed for the nation's women. 

Her book Women of Algiers in Their Apartment highlighted this reality through a collection of short stories.

In 1977, she directed her first film

The Song of Women of Mount Chenoua told the story of a female engineer returning to Algeria after living many years abroad. 

A "woman of conviction"

Upon her death, France's then-President Francois Hollande spoke highly of Djebar.

He called her a "woman of conviction, whose multiple and fertile identities fed her work, between Algeria and France, between Berber, Arab and French."